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Dear Blumhouse, we are forever your fans! Blumhouse is set to release a series of horror films and thrillers–each riveting, thought provoking, and original!

Blumhouse’s latest film, “Black Box,” starring Mamadou Athie and legendary actress, Phylicia Rashad, delves into a experimental technology gone horribly awry.

Phylicia Rashad and Mamadou Athie Black Box Movie

Phylicia Rashad and Mamadou Athie

In the film, Nolan (Athie) is a man who struggling to recover his memory after a tragic accident which also left his wife dead. He is helped through his daily functioning by his kind, but parentified and patient daughter. Wanting to get back to a normal life as a respected journalistic photographer he finds that his brain injuries have affected the quality of his work. After the urging of a friend he goes to see a brilliant doctor, Lilian (Rashad), who through the use of an experimental treatment attempts to restore his memories. The procedure, however, has some frightening side effects as a menacing force in his subconscious attempts to emerge!

This film is eerie and in all actuality highly plausible. We have seen so many times where people who were pronounced brain dead emerged from comas and or traumatic brain injuries whole, but slightly different. The film plays on age old fears of human experimentation and “skin wallking”–all too often experienced and feared in the African-American community. (Think “night doctors,” or how it is a common belief by many medical professionals that Black people feel less pain than other races)

Phylicia Rashad and Mamadou Athie Black Box Movie

We snagged an interview with the film’s star, Mamadou Athie, and he revealed his own takes on “Black Box.” The actor states the film was scary to him in some surprising ways. “Man just to have that happen and not be in control is terrifying…it really just makes you wonder and think like is there technology being developed to do that? How could someone really get out of that? And what about their families? It’s just a lot.”

Mamadou’s role as “Nolan” marks his first time portraying a father on screen. “It was surreal man, especially since I don’t have any children of my own..I feel like it just adds a new layer to the story because Nolan was literally fighting to reclaim what was left of his life–the most important being his daughter…that was just a lot…”

Black Box is the latest entry in the horror/science fiction/thriller genre with a predominantly Black cast. With films like Get Out and Us, and series like Lovecraft Country; more and more diversity is pouring onto the screen. “Traditionally, Black people have just been tokens here and there [in the horror genre] but now we are finding our places in these tales and stories…it really expands the imagination of what Black people can do and also creates more opportunities and roles for people of color…”

We love Black Box and cannot wait for all of you to see it! Be sure to stream the film airing exclusively on Amazon Prime

Movie News

Warner Bros. Drops Ava DuVernay’s “New Gods” Film from Roster

In a surprising turn of events, Warner Bros. has opted to cancel Ava DuVernay’s “New Gods” film and the Aquaman spinoff movie, “The Trench.”

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ava duvernay new gods movie the trench canceled

In a surprising turn of events, Warner Bros. has opted to cancel Ava DuVernay’s “New Gods” film and the Aquaman spinoff movie, “The Trench.”

new gods

The New Gods

“New Gods” is based off a race of fictional characters of the same name created by Jack Kirby. These “New Gods” are beings from an alternate universe, The Fourth World, dominated by two planets, New Genesis and Apokolips, who are constantly at war. The latter world has a number of heroes and villains who have been both allies and enemies to DC Comics’ superheroes. The New God, Steppenwolf, was the primary antagonist of Joss Whedon and Zack Snyder’s versions of “The Justice League” movie.

As aforementioned, “The Trench” is a spinoff of Warner Bros.’ highly successful “Aquaman” film, set in an area of the Earth’s oceans haunted by Atlanteans who became monsters, warped from their time trapped there for generations. In the Aquaman film it was the place the titular character’s mother, Atlanna, was imprisoned for having him.

ava duvernay aquaman the trench movie canceled

Monsters from “The Trench” in Aquaman

This news comes on the heels of the company going through a complete overhaul of its DC Comics based superhero properties in film, streaming on HBO Max, and its television series on The CW, dubbed the “Arrowverse” (an interconnected series of shows including Arrow, The Flash, Black Lightning, Supergirl, Superman & Lois, Batwoman, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Stargirl).

Warner Bros. and DC Comics released a statement concerning the cancellations, “As part of our DC slate, some legacy  development titles including New Gods and The Trench will not be moving forward. We thank our partners Ava DuVernay, Tom King, James Wan and Peter Safran for their time and collaboration during this process and look forward to our continued partnership with them on other DC stories. The projects will remain in their skillful hands if they were to move forward in the future.”

Ava DuVernay would have been the first African-American woman to lead a superhero film for Warner Bros. and DC Comics. Ava has not released an official statement concerning her film’s cancellation but did tweet the following:

Although Ava will not be doing “New Gods” for the foreseeable future. However, she will still be at the helm of The CW’s latest superhero series, “Naomi,” set to debut this fall.

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Movie Reviews

Lanking Films’ “The Black Love Project” is Black, Bold, & BEAUTIFUL

There are times when we feel like we have seen ten million documentaries that cover the same things when it comes from the Black LGBTQ community of Atlanta. We often wonder what’s new, riveting, or inspiring. (Please not another influencer, “socialite,” or obnoxious reality personality) Well, recently we were afforded a glimpse at something BEAUTIFUL–Lanking Films “The Black Love Project.”

Grade: A+

“The Black Love Project,” created by Lando King, is a documentary showcasing ten Black Gay Couples as they discuss their relationships and love in a candid and vulnerable set of interviews.

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the black love project movie poster

There are times when we feel like we have seen ten million documentaries that cover the same things when it comes from the Black LGBTQ community of Atlanta. We often wonder what’s new, riveting, or inspiring. (Please not another influencer, “socialite,” or obnoxious reality personality) Well, recently we were afforded a glimpse at something BEAUTIFUL–Lanking Films “The Black Love Project.”

Grade: A+

“The Black Love Project,” created by Lando King, is a documentary showcasing ten Black Gay Couples as they discuss their relationships and love in a candid and vulnerable set of interviews.

the black love project

The couples involved range from popular OnlyFans adult content creators to indie artists and fashionistas. The scope of these participants is both noted and interesting.

For us, we have never Ryan “Rah Rah” Kennedy be so open or vulnerable in any relationship, and we were surprised to find Jaydee of Global Bros. is in a relationship. The questions we have concerning the inner workings of the latter are immense and interesting.

However, it is the relationship between Tramel and Kiid Fro we found to be the most relatable. You can tell these two make up for one another’s shortcomings in spirit, emotion, and love while also having a strong, growing, and seemingly unbreakable bond tethering them to one another. There’s is a love at work, we bow in understanding.

The spectrum of Black gay love showcased in this film was inspiring, evoking a type of hope that even the most jaded of hearts has to acknowledge. A screening was shown at Mixx Atlanta Nightclub on Valentine’s Day attended by noteworthy members of Atlanta’s Black LGBT community; Carl Levonzell, LaMarr Allen, Array, and Davien Harlis. 

lando king

Lando King

Kudos to Lando King and everyone in the production of this documentary. When is part two coming? The community needs it. Dare to do and be different guys, it is a great look!

You can click here to view “The Black Love Project”

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Movie Reviews

Zendaya & John David Washington Are Beautifully Toxic in Netflix’s “Malcolm & Marie!”

Netflix’s “Malcolm & Marie,” starring John David Washington and Zendaya, respectively, showcases a young couple in love and toxicity as they navigate the ups and down of their relationship and individual wins and failures.

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malcolm and marie movie poster netflix

Netflix’s “Malcolm & Marie,” starring John David Washington and Zendaya, respectively, showcases a young couple in love and toxicity as they navigate the ups and down of their relationship and individual wins and failures.

Grade: B-

malcolm and marie netflix

The film begins with Malcolm on an emotional high as he returns home from the premiere of his latest film. He is confident that the critics will love it and finally see him as a powerhouse to be respected in Hollywood. His girlfriend, Marie, however, is bothered–and eventually vocal–about Malcolm forgetting to thank her in his acknowledgements at the premiere.

He sees her as selfish and negative. She, in turn, sees him as forgetful and a fraud for not only failing to acknowledge her; but in part using her battle with drug addiction as the story of his film. After a series of arguments and a dialogue that shows a relationship built around codependency and toxicity, you soon realize that the love between this couple is not enough to conquer their respective insecurities and demons.

The film, in black and white, is reminiscent of the simple settings used for many student films and plays recently formatted to film like Fences and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Most of the film is set in Malcolm and Marie’s home or the yard surrounding it. While this is great for a play it tends to bore visual audiences who would love to see more of the world the characters live in. For insance, the two of them discuss a number of characters and instances in their pasts we would have loved to seen. This would have given us a fuller picture of just what kind of damage Malcolm and Marie are dealing with besides their reciprocated emotional abuse.

malcolm and marie netflix

MALCOLM & MARIE (L-R): ZENDAYA as MARIE, JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON as MALCOLM. NETFLIX © 2021

However, this film was shot in under two weeks and created during the height of the pandemic when Hollywood suspended production. Both actors did take a risk by continuing on with this film. Interestingly, the controversy surrounding the film comes from the age gap between John at 36 and Zendaya at 24, which she addressed recently in a BuzzFeed interview. “I’ve played a 16-year-old since I was 16,” she admits, “You have to remember people also grew up with me as a child…It’s like watching, I guess, your younger sibling — now they’re grown, and you’re not ready for it.””It’s hard for people to wrap [their heads] around the idea that I am grown in real life, even though I do play a teenager on television still.” John, however, is unruffled by the age gap backlash, in a recent interview with Variety he states he “wasn’t concerned about it.”

Malcolm & Marie is definitely worth watching, if for no other reason than to learn what NOT to say to your significant other and to see what verbal and emotional abuse look like. You can catch it streaming now on Netflix and in some independent or artistic theaters nationwide.

 

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